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What's the Point of Having a Corporate Museum?

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The corporate museum has been gaining popularity among big enterprises in recent decades, For example, the latest company to announce a museum plan is IKEA.

Having a corporate museum may be a trend, but businesses should really consider whether such establishments will help or hurt their bottom lines. They also should be cognizant that though world-renowned operations—such as the World of Coca-Cola, the Volkswagen's Autostadt, and the Shiseido Corporate Museum—exist, many more corporate museums have floundered and morphed into company baggage waiting to collapse in one form or another.

Firms, for-profits or non-profits alike, should embrace another important goal for their corporate museums in addition to preserving and conveying company histories. Those established during profitable years for the sole purpose of showcasing and demonstrating their bygone affairs face the ugly reality of affordability and neglect at down times.

The primary reason why some corporate museums have succeeded while more have stumbled is that prosperous corporate museums set out to accomplish more than just archiving and displaying past corporate artifacts

Successful corporate museums are driven simultaneously by another objective, which is to help their businesses to attain corporate missions and objectives as well.


Corporate Museums Must Also Advance Their Brand

To withstand business fluctuations, corporate museums must adopt the objective of contributing to their company bottom lines directly or indirectly—in addition to preserving and sharing company antiquities.

Though museum objectives are not designed to replace regular sales, marketing, or campaign functions, they should nonetheless take advantage of their story-telling exhibits to build and strengthen their brands to facilitate the fulfillments of corporate missions and objectives.

 

Although corporate museum operations vary across industries, the key for successful corporate museum is that it satisfies both the visitors' desire to discover and the business target of brand building without being annoyingly obvious.

In other words, corporate museums must strive to do a brand building job without being seen as marketers.

What People Want to Experience at a Corporate Museum

When people visit museums, they expect to:

  • discover things they did not know
  • learn about the subjects of their interests, such as the most, the least, the largest, and the smallest of the company's products, as well as anything unique
  • purchase souvenirs to remember their joyful encounters

Therefore, the secret for a successful corporate museum is to deliver those elements in such a way so its sightseers get their inquisitions fulfilled and so the company gets to build a desirable brand image and project it across to its house guests.

To accomplish that feat, company museums ought to theme their expositions into a coherent sequence of tale-building episodes such that each later event will add to the result of the previous effects.

At the end, a corporate museum would want its patrons to delightfully depart with a conviction that this business is socially responsible, innovative, unique, and breathtaking.

Four Themes for Corporate Museums

Why are these images needed to be inscribed into the observers' minds? Because they are among the best brand-building elements in all industries today. To craft these impressions, four corresponding themes—corporate Citizenship, Leadership, Uniqueness, and Brand—can be used to form the CLUB for any success-seeking corporate museum to reference and create their stories.

Let us explore CLUB in the below paragraphs to see how they satisfy this aim.

Corporate Citizenship

Consumers around the world have been favoring companies that are more socially responsible than their competitors are. As a result, more companies have been pursuing green manufacturing or increasing green contents in their products and offerings.

If a company has been camping on this side of the fence, what better opportunity can it have to advertise its socially responsible maneuvers and results than proclaiming those deeds and effects in its own museum tours?

Leadership

People look up to leaders who are the first of something. Companies that can afford to run corporate museums are diverse enough in many aspects that they can find areas where they have an edge over their rivals.

Corporate museums are the perfect venue to broadcast these leadership statistics to the prospective clients. Let those stunning numbers excite the audience who are there to learn all about the company and its offerings.

Uniqueness

Everyone love to hear about things that are one of a kind. And surely no matter how similar competing products from contending companies are, they each must have unique features of their own.

A corporate museum provides the perfect opportunity to highlight the individuality of its offerings and impress captive spectators who are probably most eager to absorb what the museum spoon-feeds them.

This is also the time to distinguish the company and its products from its rivals and transform itself into a trend-setting idol for the visitors to revere.

Brand

Every marketing professional would love to have undivided attention from his or her aspirants to promote its brands. A corporate museum is the ideal setting where clients want to know everything about the company and its offerings.

Wise museum runners should package all key messages, particularly those mentioned above, into cohesive and easy-to-digest narratives to emotionally wow the viewers. They also should wrap up the tours by ensuring that their tourists leave with some token memorabilia that will keep reminding them of this brand for a long time to come.

* * *

To make their corporate museums thrive, businesses need to make sure those four motifs are well-sewn into brand-building chronicles during exhibition narrations.


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Chi-Pong Wong is a supply chain strategy development manager at Hewlett-Packard.

LinkedIn: Chi-Pong Wong

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